Kinuyo Yamamoto obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Kinuyo Yamamoto

April 13, 1923 - March 30, 2015

Obituary


Kinuyo Yamamoto
April 13, 1923 - March 30, 2015

Early years

I want to thank you all for joining us to celebrate the life of Kinuyo Yamamoto.
Kinuyo, or "Kinu" as she was known to everyone, was born in Florin, California on April 13, 1923.
Her father, Yoshimatsu Yamamoto, emigrated from Japan in 1904, followed by her mother, Sumi Segawa, in 1912.
Kinu was the youngest of five children. She had four brothers, Sam being the eldest followed by Harold, Larry, and Ray.
The family grew up on a farm...

Kinuyo Yamamoto
April 13, 1923 - March 30, 2015

Early years

I want to thank you all for joining us to celebrate the life of Kinuyo Yamamoto.
Kinuyo, or "Kinu" as she was known to everyone, was born in Florin, California on April 13, 1923.
Her father, Yoshimatsu Yamamoto, emigrated from Japan in 1904, followed by her mother, Sumi Segawa, in 1912.
Kinu was the youngest of five children. She had four brothers, Sam being the eldest followed by Harold, Larry, and Ray.
The family grew up on a farm near Sacramento California primarily raising Tokay grapes and strawberries.
WWII and the Internment Camps
In the spring of 1942, President Roosevelt signed and issued Executive Order 9066. As a result, 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were evicted from the West Coast of the U.S. and imprisoned in internment camps across the U.S.
o In preparation for the eviction, Kinu's family quickly stored their most valuable possessions including furniture, kitchen utensils and farm equipment in an out building. (Note: none of these possessions were ever seen again since the family never returned to California).
o Everyone west of the Sacramento train tracks were sent to Rohwer and Jerome, Arkansas. It was a really long train ride with only one stop along the way. At this stop everyone got out to stretch while solders with rifles guarded the internees.
The internment camps were rather spartan with families assigned to barracks.
o It was hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. To keep the cold out, canvas sheets were used to plug the many knot holes in the wooden walls.
o There wasn't much to do but work in the camp. Kinu worked in the kitchen earning $16 per month like everyone else except the doctors making $19 per month.
o Kinu's brother, Ray, who had been previously drafted into the Army, visited the family once. It was rather ironic that Ray, who had been drafted, was free to visit his siblings and parents who were imprisoned in this internment camp.
Detroit and Cleveland
At the end of the War, all Camp internees were given a one way train ticket. Kinu decided to follow her parents and brother, Sam, to Detroit. This was another long train ride, but very scary this time. Since each internee was given a specific and different date for leaving the internment camp, Kinu had to travel alone on the train.
After about 5 months Kinu decided to join her brother Harold in Cleveland. For a short time she lived with Harold, his wife Kiyo, and daughter Sharon.
Since Kinu had trouble finding a job, she decided to become a "domestic" helping a widow named Fanny Bioloski. Kinu became a live in house keeper helping Fanny, who sold dresses from her house, with housekeeping chores. Kinu worked for Fanny for six years.
At a New Year's dance Kinu met Tatsuo or "Tats" Yamamoto. They got married shortly afterward on July 7, 1951.
They had four kids in rapid succession starting in 1953: Dennis, Stephen, Stan and then Donna. Wow, Kinu must have been exhausted!

Seattle

In the summer of 1962, the year of the Seattle World's Fair, the family moved from Cleveland back to Tat's hometown of Seattle. What a car trip - 2400 miles with a family of six in a white Chevy station wagon! The new Interstate system was mostly complete on their journey through Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and finally Washington.

The family first bought a home on Beacon Hill on Portland Avenue. However, the budget was challenging so Tats and Kinu bought a Ma and Pa grocery store in Bryn Mawr, just north of Renton.
o The grocery store was a two-story building with the family living upstairs. Dave's Grocery was a lot of work, having to order the inventory, stock the shelves, and deal with all of the finicky customers. The job was 12 hours per day, and 7 days per week.
o Running the store was quite a family affair and the only break was if Tats hired help for Sunday afternoons. It did, however, provide the economic basis needed to raise four kids and many dogs, and to fund a good retirement.

Retirement

After all of the kids, Dennis, Stephen, Stan and Donna completed school, Kinu and Tats sold the store, retired and moved to Renton.

- They enjoyed gardening, working on the house, traveling to Japan twice and annual month long vacations to Hawaii. Their vacations were quite a highlight:

? In Japan, they visited hometowns where family were born and where relatives still reside.

? During January visits to Hawaii, they enjoyed warm weather, taking the Bus around Oahu, and especially eating at Shirokiya in the Ala Moana Shopping Center.

In October of 2006 Tats & Kinu moved from their home to the Eagle Ridge Lodge Retirement Center, in Renton. They made many friends during this chapter of their life, spending 6 years free from having to maintain a home.

In 2012, Kinu moved to Edmonds, two blocks from Donna and Bryce. She enjoyed many outings with family and friends going to the Edmonds Art Festival, farmers market, Taste of Edmonds, and the waterfront. Although life was simple, she enjoyed bingo, growing marigolds and sunflowers, and sitting on the deck taking in the views, sun and refreshing cool air.

Throughout her life Kinu enjoyed

Her Family and Friends including
61 years of marriage with Tats
Visits, calls and cards from family and friends. These were most special to her.

Dogs including
Two Chihuahuas, Pepe and Peewee, at the grocery store
Pepper at their house during retirement
Choco and Ki at the Adult Family Home

She especially liked giving treats to dogs - we were never sure who enjoyed this more, Kinu or the dogs!

Food including
Edamame, Kamaboko, Tofu, Sushi, Salads, Vegetables, Strawberries and grapes.
Even though she was of small stature, she ate more food and more often than most people. She was a member of the clean plate club unless it was salmon.

Kinu had a positive attitude, was gentle, kind, and always wanted to help others. She was a good wife, mother, aunt and grandmother and friend.

Let us celebrate her life. We will all miss Kinu. May she rest in peace.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to a favorite charity or favorite dog/cat charity. Thank you.









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